TitleEarly postnatal response of the spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus and target muscles to testosterone in male gerbils.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsS Mansouri, H, Siegford, JM, Ulibarri, C
JournalBrain Res Dev Brain Res
Date Published2003 May 14
KeywordsAging, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Cell Differentiation, Cell Division, Cell Size, Gerbillinae, Hyperplasia, Hypertrophy, Male, Motor Neurons, Muscle Fibers, Skeletal, Muscle, Skeletal, Organ Size, Pelvic Floor, Penis, Sex Characteristics, Spinal Cord, Testosterone

This study examined the response of the spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus (SNB) and the bulbocavernosus (BC) muscle, to testosterone in male Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) during the early postnatal period. Male gerbil pups were given testosterone propionate (TP) or vehicle for 2 days, then perfused on postnatal day (PND) 3, 5, 10 or 15. The BC and levator ani (LA) muscles were removed, weighed, and sectioned. Cross-sections of BC muscle fibers were measured and muscle fiber morphology examined. Spinal cords were removed and coronally sectioned in order to count and measure the SNB motoneurons. Following TP treatment, male pups of all ages had significantly heavier BC-LA muscles and larger fibers in the BC muscle compared to age-matched controls. The increase in muscle weight following TP treatment was greatest at PND10, while fiber size increased to a similar degree at all ages suggesting that hyperplasia as well as hypertrophy was responsible for the increase in muscle mass at this time. SNB motoneurons increased significantly in number and size with age and TP treatment. We hypothesize that the increase in SNB motoneuron number during normal ontogeny that can be augmented by TP treatment and represents an unusual means of establishing sexual dimorphism in the nervous system of a mammal through cell recruitment to the motor pool of a postnatal animal.

Alternate JournalBrain Res Dev Brain Res
PubMed ID12711364